Seattle Life – Today we drove over to Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church for the Greek Festival. It was packed; tons of people, and lots of good food. The gyros were being made from frozen preprocessed strips of meat, so it wasn’t exactly like the Greek food I got hooked on in Detroit, Chicago, and Toronto (and sorry to the locals, but Costas Opa isn’t even in the same class of competition); but the pastries were pretty good, and the atmosphere was nice. Lots of families with babies; St. Demetrios is obviously the center of the Greek community out here.
Today the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that Corixa is a “formidable” foe to bioterrorist threats like Anthrax. I couldn’t find anything in the article that shows how Corixa or anyone else could possibly stop terrorists from killing tens of thousands of people. They mention a sort of “anomaly detection” system that could notice “blips” in reported illnesses and catch (for example) smallpox before it became an unstoppable epidemic. Well, that’s nice, but thousands of people would be dead by that point, which would easily justify such an attack in the addled mind of a terrorist. And it would take only a few more terrorists to spark a whole new incident. The same with Anthrax; by the time that any symptoms are noticed, another few thousand people are dead. The P-I at least makes the point that vaccines are the only real hope (assuming any were being produced in useful quantities). I suppose this is the same sort of wishful journalism seen in the reports of beefed-up security at airports that is meant to prevent more boxcutters from being brought on board. This gives us a safe feeling, and we can live in comforting denial that three 250-lb guys trained in neck-breaking could do the same thing with no carryon luggage at all. And we can also deny to ourselves the obvious logic that no terrorist organization would be so stupid as to use that attack again, anyway. Unfortunately, if all of the feds are watching the airport, that means that the ventilation system at your local mall is a softer target. These news articles seem to serve a purpose in letting us deny the fact that we are always going to be vulnerable. And they give us the comforting feeling that we can solve this problem by clamming up more tightly into our shells and avoiding uncomfortable external engagement.
Speaking of avoiding externally-directed engagement, I heard that a thousand or so anti-something protesters gathered in Washington D.C. to say that violence will not help. We have ample proof that a bunch of people in Kandahar believe that violence is an answer. Why don’t we put all of the protesters on a plane and let them go make their voices heard to some people who really need help?
And speaking of fuzzy minds, I noticed that Slate is bringing up the issue of racial profiling, which is guaranteed to be a hot topic with people like Kinsley. Kinsley pretends to be agonizing over whether racial profiling is OK in some cases, and conflicted over comparisons to affirmative action. Considering that the hijackers and their supporters come from a wide range of ethnicities, the whole question seems contrived by Kinsley as a straw man fit for examining promiscusously in this column. Or maybe Kinsley really is ignorant and thinks “they all look the same to me”. Kinsley could avoid all of the exhibitionist agonizing by simply stepping back and figuring out what his priorities are. As L. Ron Hubbard once said, “all stress in life comes from conflicting intentions”, pointing out that it is impossible for someone who knows what his priorities are to be unhappy.
I think at this point, most Americans have their priorities remarkably clear. My human right to have an airplane not drive into me is pretty high up on the list. Anyone else who says differently is a liar.